Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

Buckinghamshire, Oxford and Chichester

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Another journey ffrom London to Alsebury 30 mile, from thence to great Horrwood in Buckinghamshire 10 miles, from thence I went to Hillsdon a house of Mr Dentons 7 miles which stands on a Riseing in the middle of a fine Parke and lookes very well; its not large, a good hall wth 2 parlours and has a glide through the house into the gardens wch are neately kept-the grass and Gravel walkes wth dwarfs and flower beds and much fruit; the prospect is fine all over the gardens and parke, and the river and woods beyond them. We went to Thorndon Sr Thomas Tyrrells, a good old house and very good gardens, some walkes like Arbours Close, others shady others open, some gravel, others grass with Cyprus' trees, a fine river runnes all the back side of the garden, where is very good ffish. The house is low but runnes much on the ground, so there are many roomes wch are lofty but its not built in many storyes. Thence we went 4 mile to Stow Sr Richd Temples new house that stands pretty high. You enter into a hall very lofty with a gallery round the top, thence through to a great parlour that opens in a Bellcony to the garden, and is a visto thro' the whole house, so that on the one side you view the gardens wch are one below another wth low breast walls and Taress walkes, and is replenished with all ye Curiosityes or Requisites for ornament, pleasure and use, beyond it are orchards and woods with rows of trees; on the other side you see ye parke rowes of trees; the roomes are all lofty and good, the hall is not large but sutable to its height-a great many Chambers and roomes of state. Some the ground floores are inlaid, ffine Pictures and good staircase and gallery wch leads to the Ledds through a large Cupelow wch gives ye prospect of the whole Country. We went to horrwood 7 mile, by severall other seates of Sr Ralph Verny's who has most exact ffine gardens: within two mile off Horrwood is a well of minerall waters from Iron just like Tunbridg and as good. 1 dranke them a fortnight-there are severall of the same sort of springs all about that Country. Thence I went to Buckinghamtown 7 mile, a very neate place and we passed the river Ouise over a very high bridge tho' the river seemed not then so very full, but it swells after great raines which makes them build their arches so large. Thence to Banbury in Oxfordshire 13 miles, thence to morton Hindmost in Glocestershire 14 miles, thence to Hales 8 miles over steep stony hills, a house of Lord Tracy's where my brother Say lived-a good old house, and there is a pretty Chappel with a Gallery ffor people of quality to sitt in wch goes out of the hall that is a lofty large roome: good parlour and seyerall good lodging roomes. You ascend into the house by Severall stone stepps. Within 2 mile of this is a better house of ye Lord Tracy with a very good parke which stands so high that by the Lodge I rode up ye banks I could see all the parke about and ye deer feeding and running.

There is a little river and large ponds-it gives you a good sight of the Country about, wch is pretty much inclosed and woods a rich deep Country and so the roads bad. There are severall high hills that I was on that gave a large prospect to ye eye. I saw some of this land improved in the produce of woods wch ye dyers use-its ordered in this manner, all the Summer season if drie for 4 or 5 months they sow it or plant it, but I thinke its sown-then its very Clean wedd when grown up a little out of ye ground, for it rises no higher then Lettice and Much in such tuffts; ye Coullour off ye Leafe is much like Scabins and the shape Resembling that: this they Cutt of Close to ye ground and soe out of ye same roofe Springs the Leafe againe, this they do 4 tymes, then in a Mill wth a horse they Grind the Leaves into a paste, so make it up in balls and drye them in a Penthouse to secure it from raine-only the wind dryes it. This plantation of about 12 acres would Employ 2 or 3 ffamilyes Men, Women and Children, and so they Generally Come and Make little hutts for themselves for ye Season to tend it.

Here I saw flax In the growth. The smell of the Woode is so strong and offencive you can scarce beare it at ye Mill: I could not fforse my horse neare it.

ffrom thence I returned Backe by a place where is a stone stands to Divide ffour shires-Worcester, Oxford Glocester and Warwickshire-so I ascended there a high hill and travaill'd all on ye top of ye hills a pleasant and a good Roade. I came to Rowle Stone where are many such greate stones as is at Stonidge, one stands uppright, a broad Stone Called the King's Stone, being the place a Saxon King was secured against his enemies; thence to Broughton in all 26 miles. Thence I went to Astrop where is a Steele water Much ffrequented by ye Gentry, it has some Mixture of Allum so is not so strong as Tunbridge. There is a ffine Gravell Walke that is between 2 high Cutt hedges where is a Roome for the Musick and a Roome for ye Company besides ye Private walkes. The well runnes very quick, they are not Curious in keepeing it, neither is there any bason for the spring to run out off only a dirty well full of Moss's which is all Changed yellow by the water. There are Lodgings about for ye Company and a little place Called Sutton. this is four mile, thence to Oxfford 14 mile all in a very good Road and an exceeding pleasant Country. You pass by many ffine seates, Park's, woods, the Land in Most part of this County is Rich Red Mould and deepe so as they are forced to Plough their Ground 2 or 3 tymes for wheate and Cannot use Wheeles to their Ploughs, its rich Land and produces plenty of all things.

Oxford opens to view 2 mile off, its Scituation is ffine on a Round hill Environ'd Round with hills adorn'd with Woods and Enclosures, yet not so neare as to annoy ye town which stands pleasant and Compact. There is a ffine Causy for neare two mile by the Road for the Schollars to walke on, ye Theater stands the highest of all and much in ye middle Encompass'd with ye Severall Colledges and Churches and other Buildings whose towers and Spires appeares very Well at a Distance; the Streetes are very Cleane and well Pitched and pretty broad. The high Streete is a very Noble one, soe Larg and of a Greate Length. In this is ye University Church Called St Maryes, which is very large and Lofty but Nothing very Curious in it. The Theater is a Noble Pile of building, its Paved with Black and White Marble, exceeding Large and Lofty, built Round and Supported by its own architecture all stone, noe pillars to support it; itt has windows all round and full of Gallery's ffor the Spectators as well as Disputants when ye acts are at Oxford. Over the Rooff of this Large Roome are as Large roomes with Severall Divissions which are Used for the Drying the Printed Sheetes of bookes, and this has Light in Ovalls which is quite Round the Theater and in the Middle is a large Cupelow or Lanthorne Whence your Eye has a very ffine view of ye whole town and Country; this is all Supported on its own work. Under the theater is a roome wch is ffitted for printing, where I printed My name Severall tymes. The outside of ye theater there is a pavement and spikes of Iron in a Raile round with pillars of stone to secure it from the street. Just by it is a little building wch is full of Antiquityes wch have many Curiositys in it of Mettles, Stones, Ambers, Gumms.

There is the picture of a Gentleman yt was a Great benefactor to it being a travailer; the fframe of his picture is all wood carved very finely with all sorts of figures, Leaves, birds, beast and flowers. He gave them 2 ffine gold Meddals or Silve gilt wth two ffine great Chaines of the same, one was all curious hollow worke wch were given him by some prince beyond the Sea. There is a Cane which looks like a Solid heavy thing but if you take it in yor hands its as light as a feather, there is a Dwarfe shoe and boote, there are several Loadstones, and it is pretty to See how ye steele Clings or follows it, hold it on the top att some distance the needles stand quite upright, hold it on either side it moves towards it as it rises and falls.

There are several good Colledges I saw most of ym . Waddom hall is but little; in Trinity Colledge is a fine neate Chapple, new made, finely painted. Christ Church is ye largest Colledge. The Courts large, ye buildings large and lofty; in one of the Courts is a tower new built for to hang the Mighty Tom, that bell is of a Large size, so great a Weight they were forced to have engines from London to raise it up to the tower. There is a fine ring of bells in ye Colledge St Magdalines, its just by the river, there is to Maudline H all (which is a very large and good Cloyster) a very fine gravell walk, two or 3 may walke abreast, and Rows of trees on either side, and this is round a water wch Makes it very pleasant.

St Johns Colledge had fine gardens and walkes but I did but just look into it, so I did into kings, and queens Colledges, and severall of the rest I looked into, they are much alike in building but none so large as Christ Church Colledge. I was in New Colledge wch is very neate, but not large, the buildings good, Ye Chapple very fine; Ye Garden was new makeing, there is a large bason of water In the Middle there is little walkes and mazes and round mounts for the schollars to divert themselves.

In Corpus Christus Colledge wch is but small there I was entertained at supper and eate of their very good bread and beare which is remarkably the best anywhere Oxford Bread is.

The Physick garden afforded great diversion and pleasure, the variety of flowers and plants would have entertained one a week. The few remarkable things I tooke notice off was ye Aloes plant wch is like a great flag in shape, leaves and Coullour, and grows in the fform of an open Hartichoake and towards the bottom of each Leafe its very broad and thicke, In wch there are hollows or receptacles for ye Aloes. There is also ye sensible plant, take but a Leafe between finger and thumb and squeeze it and it immediately Curles up together as if pained and after some tyme opens abroad again, it looks in Coullour like a filbert Leafe but much narrower and long. There is also the humble plant that grows on a long slender Stalke and do but strike it, it falls flatt on ye ground stalke and all, and after some tyme revives againe and Stands up, but these are nice plants and are kept mostly under Glass's, ye aire being too rough for them. There is ye wormwood sage Called Mountaigne sage, its to all appearance like Comon sage only of yellower green, a narrow long Leafe full of ribbs; In yor Mouth the flavour is strong of Wormwood to the taste. The library is as large as 2 or 3 roomes but old and a little disreguarded except one part wch is parted from the rest, wansecoated and fitted up neate and painted which was done by King james ye Second wn he designed Maudling Colledg for his priests A Seminary. Here I met wth some of my relations who accompanyed me about to see some of the Colledges I had not seen before, St John's Colledge which is large and has a ffine Garden at one Entrance of it with Large Iron-gates Carved and Gilt; its built round two Courts: the Library is two walks, one out of the other the inner one has severall Anatomy's in Cases and some other Curiosity of Shells, stone, bristol Diamonds, skins of ffish and beasts. Here they have the Great Curiosity Much spoken off King Charles the ffirsts Picture; Ye whole Lines of fface band and garment to the Shoulders and armes and garter is all written hand and Containes the whole Comon prayer, itts very small the Character, but where a straight Line is you May read a word or two; there is another of Gustaus Adolphus whose portraiture is represented to the Eye in writeing alsoe and Contains his whole Life and prowess, there is alsoe the Lord's prayer and ten Commandments in the Compass of a Crown piece; there are also Severall books all of writing on vellum Leaves, and one book written in ye Chinease Caractor on the jndian barks off trees; there is alsoe a Book of the Genealogies of the Kings since the Conquest to King Charles the Second, with the Severall Coates all Gilded very fresh till the two or three Last wch is pretended to be difficient from the art being Lost of Laying Gold so ffine on anything to polish it, but thats a great Mistake for that art is still in use in England, but the Excuse served the Negligence or ignorance of the workman; there was alsoe One book wth severall Cutts in it off ye Conception of Christ till his Ascention. There was alsoe a ffine prayer book or Mass book of Q. Marias, this was in the new part of the Library which was neately wanscoated and adorned. There is a ffine grove of trees and walks all walled round. Queens Colledge Library is all new and a stately building Emulating that of Christ Church in Cambridge, it is not so large and stands on one range of Pillars of stone, the other ffront being all with Statues in Stone, in Nitches and Carved adornements and on the tops ffigures and statues. The Stair -Case is pretty broad but not so ffinely wanscoated or Carved as that at Cambridge, the roomes is Lofty, but not so large, Well Wanscoated and there is good Carvings; its Mostly full of Books in the severall divisions and great Globes, its boarded Under foot, there is no ballcoany because the prospect is but to a dead wall, its very handsom.

Trinity Colledge Chapple which was not ffinish'd the Last tyme I was at Oxford but now it is a Beautifull Magnifficent Structure. Its Lofty and Curiously painted -the Rooffe and Sides ye history of Christ's ascention a very ffine Carving of thin white wood just Like that at Windsor it being the same hand. The whole Chappel is Wanscoated with Walnut tree and the fine sweet wood ye same yt ye Lord Oxfford brought over when high admiral of England, and has wanscoated his hall and staircase with. It is sweet like Cedar and of a Reddish Coullr, but ye graine much ffiner and well vein'd.

New Colledge which belongs to the ffiennes's, William of Wickam the founder, so I look'd on myself as some way a little Interested in that, here I was very handsomly Entertained by Mr Cross wch was one of my nephew Say and Seale's Tutors when at Oxfford. These ffellowshipp in New Colledge are about 100 say and a very pretty appartinent of Dineing Roome, bed Chamber, a studdy and a room for a Servant, tho' ye Serviteurs of the Colledge gives attendance; and here they may Live very Neatly and well if Sober and have all their Curiosityes they take much delight in, greens of all sorts, Myrtle, oringe and Lemons and Lorrestine growing in potts of Earth and so moved about from place to place and into the aire sometymes. There are severall New Lodgings added and beautifyed here, the Gardens also wth gravell and Grass walkes, some shady and a great mount in the Middle wch is ascended by Degrees in a round of Green paths deffended by greens cutt Low, and on ye top is a summer house. Beyond these Gardens is a bowling-green and round it a Close shady walke, walled round and a Cutt hedge to the bowling-green.

There are in Oxford 18 Colledges and Six halls viz. New Colledge, Christ Church, Martin Colledge, Corpus Christy Colledge, Magdalen Colledge, University Coll, Pembroke Colledge, Linghorn Colledge, which is overlook't by the Devil, Brasen-nose Colledge, Wadham Colledge, Queens Colledge, Belial Colledge, Orrel Colledge, Trinity Colledge, Exetter Colledge, All-souls Colledge,Jesus Colledge, St Johns Colledge,-halls 7 viz Alben hall, Maudlin hall, Newin hall, Hart Hall, Glocester hall, St Mary hall, and Edmond hall. There is a very odd Custom In Queen Coll. for every new-years-day, there is a Certain Sum Laid out In Needles and thread wch was Left by ye founder and every Gentleman of that Colledge has one given him wth these words: Take this and be thrifty.

In New Colledge Garden in ye plott there is ye Colledg Armes Cutt in box and ye 24 Letters round it. Next plott a sun-dial cutt in box and true-Lovers knotts; att ye entrance Of ye Colledge over ye gate is the ffiennes's and ye Wickhams Arms Cutt in stone Sett up there by my Nephew Say when he was at ye Colledge before his travels. There is a large stone statue in the Middle of ye first quadrangle of William of Wickhams ye ffounder, railed in wth Iron Grates. In ye Library are ye pictures of some of ye learned men wch belonged formerly to the University.

From Oxford I went to Abington and Cross'd ye River Thames on a bridge att ye end of ye town and so Entered into Barkshire and rode along by ye thames side a good way, wch was full of Barges and Lighters-its 6 mile to Abington. Before I proceed will Insert ye names of ye ffounders of ye halls and Colledges in Oxford. University Colledge was founded by King Alfred. Baliol Coll. was founded by John and David Baliol, Merton Coll. by Walter de Mert, Exetter Coll. by Walter Stapleton, Oriel Colledge by King Edward the second, Queen Coll. by Robert Egglesfield, New Colledge by Wm of Wickham, Lincoln Colledge by Richard Fleming, All souls Coll. by Henry Chicklay Magdalin Coll. by Wm Wainfleet, Brason-nose Coll. by Wm Smith, and Richd Sutton, Corpus-Christy Coll. by Richd fox, Christ-Church Coll. by Henry ye eight, Trinity Colledge by Tho. Pope, St Johns Coll. Thomas white, Jesus Colledge by Queen Elizabeth, Wadham Coll. by Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham, Pembrooke Coll. by Thomas Feisdale and Richd Whitewick, Hart Hall by Walter Stapleton, St Mary Hall by King Edward the 2d , Newin Hall by Wm of Wickham, Magdalen Hall by Wm of Wainfleet, Gloster Hall by thomas White, Albon Hall by ye abbess of Alban, St Edmond Hall by ye arch Bishop of Canterbury.

From thence I went to Abington. Abington town seemes a very well built town and the Market Cross is the ffinest in England, its all of free stone and very Lofty; Even ye Isles or Walk below is a Lofty arch on severall Pillars of square Stone and four square Pillars: over it are Large Roomes with handsome windows, above wch is some Roomes with Windows and Little Like the Theatre att Oxford only this is a Square building and that round, it makes a very ffine appearance.

From thence I went to Elsly 8 mile farther, a little Market town, good Inns thence Newbury. Most of this way is much on Downs and good Roads, its 7 mile to Newbury where I called on an old acquaintance Marryed to a tradesman Mr Every, who is so Like the Minister his Uncle yt was my acquaintance. Here I staid an hour and then proceeded on to Basenstoke 12 long miles, being my ready road to Chichister, and from Basenstoke to Alton 8 mile and from thence to Petersffield and to Nurstead 11 long Miles, this was in Hampshire so was BasenstokeBasenstoke: here I lay at a Relations House Mr Holt that marry'd My Mothers sister. From thence I went to Chichester through . a very ffine Parke of the Lord Tankervailes, stately woods and shady tall trees at Least 2 mile, in ye Middle stands his house wch is new built, square, 9 windows in ye ffront and seven in the sides. Brickwork wth free stone coynes and windows, itts in the Midst of fine gardens, Gravell and Grass walks and bowling green, wth breast walls Divideing each from other, and so discovers the whole to view. Att ye Entrance a Large Coart wth Iron gates open wch Leads to a less, ascending some stepps, ffree stone in a round, thence up More Stepps to a terrass, so to the house; it looks very neate and all orchards and yards convenient. Thence I entered into Sussex and soe Chichester, wch is 12 miles. This is but a Little Citty Encompass'd with a wall wth 4 gates which Casts the two streetes directly across each other and so Lookes through from Gate to Gate, one Streete does, the other it seemes did so formerly, but in new building of some of their houses they have encroach'd into the Streete and so hinders the through visto. In Midst of these 2 or 4 streetes Divided by the Market place is a very faire Cross of Stone Like a Church or greate arch, its pretty Large and pirramydy form wth severall Carvings. The Cathedrall is pretty Lofty, ye painting on ye Roofe in the quire and Isles Lookes very ffresh tho' 300 yeares old, there is in the jsle on ye roofe ye phaney of 6 faces joyned and 6 eyes and yet each face has two eyes and in another place the faces turned outward and so the 6 faces are 12 eyes. The Quire is good, there is a fixed pulpit in it overight ye Bishops seate wch is not usual, I never saw it before- Usually they have pulpits that are Moveable.

There is a faire Organ and another pulpit in ye body of the Church, there is also an entire Church in ye Cathedral by it self wch is ye parish Church. There are in all 6 parishes and so many Churches besides ye Cathedrall. Over the alter is painted glass Chequer'd blew white and Red, so deepe the Coullr is struck into the Glass as makes it darkish, in one of the Isles is a square place, on each side ye Wall is filled with ye Kings pictures from ye Conquest to their present Majestyes; there is also one Picture pretty Large of a Saxon King in his Robes and an abbott with his brethren, petitioning to build this Cathedrall which before belonged to ye Isle of Ely where was ye Bishops see. There is also one large Picture of another Bishop petitioning King Harry ye 8th to ffinish and paint ye Church. On ye other side the wall is filled up wth ye severall abbots and Bishops since ye Conquest that have been of Chichester. In their advancement they are brought from Bristol to Chichester and next advance is to Ely and so on to greater revenues. The tower is 260 odd steps, from whence you may see the whole town. There are 3 or 4 good New houses, one is ye Dean's, Mr Edds, a very good man; from thence I saw ye Isle of Weight, Spitthead; the sea comes within a mile of ye Citty, Remarkable for Lobsters and Crabs Chichester is. There is an Engine or Mill about a Mile off the town draws up salt water at one side from the sea and fresh water from a Little rivulet wch descends from a hill, and so supply's ye town. Halfe way off ye tower you go round ye quire and Looke down into it, there are severall effigies of marble and allabaster of ye Bishops of the place and one of the Earle of Arundell and his Lady.

Chichester is 50 mile from London ye Direct way by Guildford, but I went through more of Sussex wch is much In blind dark Lanes and up and down Steepe hills, to Billinghurst and passed through Arundell parke belonging to ye Duke of Norfolke, this was 18 mile, from whence I went to Dorken in Surry 15 mile, where are ye best trouts in ye river wch runns by Box hill a Remarkable diversion to people that go to Epsum. The hill is full of box wch is Cutt out in severall walks shady and pleasant to walk in tho' the Smell is not very agreeable; the brow of the hill being Such a height gives a Large prospect of a ffruitfull vale full of inclosures and woods, and this River Runns twining itself about and is called ye Swallow, and Just about Dorken and Leatherhead 4 mile thence it sinkes away in many places wch they call Swallow holes, this Must be some quicksand, but ye Report of it is it sincks here and runnes undr ground a Mile or two and rises about Moles and Runs againe. Camden does credit this and repeates a tryal one made of forceing a Duck into one of those falls wch Came out at ye other side by Moles wth its ffeathers allmost all Rubbed off wch supposses ye passage to be streight, but how they Could force ye Duck into so difficult a way or whither anything of this is more than Conjecture must be Left to every ones Liberty to judge. From Dorken its 10 mile to Kingsston, a Chalky hard Road wch is in Surrey, this stands on the Thames, its a great Market for Corne; I was there on Satturday and saw great quantity's of Corn and Mault sold; thence I passed by Richmond park wall a good way and Came in sight of Hampton Court wch is a Noble Building, had the good queen Mary Lived to have ffinished it, it would have been ye noblest palace in ye Kingdom. I passed the end of Wanstead and Clapham and part of Lambeth having Chealsey College in view and ye whole Cittys of Westminster and London so thro' Southwarke over London bridge into Middlesex 10 mile in all from Kingston-this Little journey was 220 mile.

Celia Fiennes, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1888)

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